- Average European day-ahead electricity prices in 2022 were around 235 €/MWh
- Prices increased the most in Italy, while increasing the least in Scandinavia, Poland, and Iberia
- Electricity price volatility in 2022 was on average six times higher than in 2020 and more than doubled compared to 2021
- Price volatility stimulated integration of flexible assets: A bidirectionally chargeable electric vehicle could have generated 3,000 € in 2022 by trading in spot markets in Germany
Electricity prices on the power exchanges rose sharply in all European countries in 2022. The average European price level (annual load-weighted base price of the evaluated countries) in 2022 has increased sevenfold compared to 2020, to approx. 235 €/MWh. Even compared to 2021, which already had a very high electricity price level at the end of the year, the price has more than doubled. Figure 1 compares the development of the average annual electricity price (base price) from 2019 to 2022 for 24 European countries.
The countries analyzed include all European countries with an adequate data available on the entso-e transparency platform. It is readily apparent that there are country-specific differences in price development, even though prices have risen sharply in all countries. Italy shows the highest electricity price.
This is due to the close coupling of the electricity price to the price of natural gas, which rose sharply as part of the energy price crisis in the wake of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine. (see FfE energy charts). Since Italian electricity production is strongly characterized by gas-fired power plants, the price of electricity also increased significantly. In contrast, electricity generation in Poland is based primarily on coal-fired power plants, so there was less influence from the sharp rise in gas prices. Though also coal prices increased in 2022, and therefore the electricity price in Poland was higher than in previous years, the increase in prices thus was substantially lower than in other European countries. Besides Poland, Scandinavia, Portugal, and Spain experienced the lowest electricity prices in 2022. In Scandinavia this is due to cheaper electricity production, especially from hydroelectric plants. Spain and Portugal introduced the controversial but EU-approved measure of capping the price of natural gas used for electricity production (by subsidizing those amounts of natural gas used for electricity production), and thus indirectly the price of electricity, from mid-2022. In the second half of the year, the gas fuel price was capped at €40 €/MWh, which also led to a significantly lower electricity price level than in the rest of continental Europe. Our previously published article from September 2022 summarizes the advantages and disadvantages of this measure.
Similar to the increased absolute price levels, price volatility has also risen sharply in all the European countries studied. Figure 2 illustrates this, displaying the mean daily standard deviation of the electricity price per country for the years 2019 to 2022. Compared to 2020, the mean daily standard deviation in 2022 increased sixfold in the European average. Spain and Portugal show the lowest price volatility, along with Norway, which is again due to the previously discussed gas price caps and hydropower generation, respectively. Italy has medium price volatility compared with the rest of Europe, which indicates a consistently very high level of electricity prices when considered in combination with the previously discussed price levels. Gas-fired power plants have a high share of electricity generation here and often set the price of electricity. The highest price volatilities occur in smaller market areas (the Baltic States and Romania), whose links to the larger interconnected European grid have limited transmission capacities.
The higher price volatility clearly stimulates the integration of flexible assets. A previously published paper highlighted the revenue potentials of bidirectionally chargeable electric vehicles (EVs) participating in the German spot markets. The modeled revenues result from the electricity costs of optimized bidirectional charging (charging and discharging of electricity) minus the electricity costs of unmanaged charging EVs. A bidirectionally chargeable EV (60 kWh battery capacity, 11 kW charge/discharge power) could increase revenues from around 1,000 €/a in 2021 to over 3,000 €/a in 2022 with combined marketing on the day-ahead and intraday markets in Germany and assumed exemption from levies and charges on purchased energy.
We have published the data used in the analyses presented here under the following link. The data includes the electricity price levels with the minimum and maximum prices as well as the number of negative prices of the countries studied for the years 2019 to 2022. Furthermore, the electricity price volatility is shown by the annual standard deviation and the average daily standard deviation per country.
A detailed analysis of the German day-ahead and intraday electricity prices can be found here.
1 Some countries consist of several separate electricity market areas. For Denmark (DK), Italy (IT), Norway (NO) and Sweden (SE) the electricity market area with the highest, annual electricity demand is analyzed.
2 For those countries whose electricity prices were not published in euros, the currency was converted to euros using a fixed, yearly conversion rate